Tar Sands activists vow to continue the fight

Barbara Carter, one of three women jailed after locking themselves to heavy machinery to protest the expansion of the Enbridge tar sands pipeline. The same pipeline ruptured in 2010, gushing nearly one million gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River, making it the largest inland oil spill in American history. PHOTO/DAYMONJHARTLEY.COM

Barbara Carter, one of three women jailed after locking themselves to heavy machinery to protest the expansion of the Enbridge tar sands pipeline. The same pipeline ruptured in 2010, gushing nearly one million gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River, making it the largest inland oil spill in American history.

The People’s Tribune interviews Vicci Hamlin, one of three women convicted of felony charges in their protest to stop the expansion of tar sands pipelines—before the next oil disaster.

People’s Tribune: Vicci, tell us how you became involved.

Vicci Hamlin: My husband and I decided we wanted to put our concerns and convictions about environmental justice into action. We were involved in many protests and actions and wanted to do more. We heard about “fearless summer” and sent an email to 350.org. They informed us of an action camp in Stockbridge, Michigan with a group called the MI CATS. Even though it was a three and a half hour drive, and we knew none of the other activists, we were excited and feeling like this would be “special,” and it was. We fought in the past against many forms of injustice, but climate justice was close to our hearts. It was an incredible weekend, and the decision was made by my husband and I to do a direct action against the Enbridge corporation and the 6b expansion pipeline. We knew there was a chance of arrest and that one of us would need to be out of jail, the support person for the other. I chose to be the one that locked down with three others. We all believed deeply that if these dirty tar sands weren’t stopped, it would be as James Hanson had said, “game over” for future generations and our beautiful planet.

PT: What danger does tar sands extraction pose to our children and humanity?
VH: Grave danger. it emits more greenhouse gases than any other form of production. If not stopped, I fear that my grandchildren and all God’s children will suffer and if not die, wish they could!
PT: What was your charge and sentence?

VH:  We were charged with a felony charge of assault/resist/obstruct and a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. Three of us decided to take it to trial and were found guilty by a jury on both counts.  Our bond was revoked and we were immediately taken to jail where we spent 34 days. At our sentencing, we were given time served—13 months probation and over $42,000 in restitution to Enbridge, plus $746.00 in fines for each of us.
PT: Why did the government come down so hard on you?

VH: I believe they wanted to make examples of us. As I told the judge on the day of our sentencing,”You may believe if the penalties are severe enough resistance will falter and eventually die, but you are wrong!”  Also the policeforce were paid by Enbridge to protect their pipelines and who knows who else?

PT: What kind of support did you get?

VH: So much support. Over 500 postcards each while in jail, both nationally and internationally, plus fund raisers in Chicago, Detroit, New York, Texas, just everywhere. Countless blogs, social media, radio and television interviews, newspaper articles . . . amazing support!

PT: What is your vision of a new society that cares for the earth and it’s people?

VH: One that values love over fear—people over profit.

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20 thoughts on “Tar Sands activists vow to continue the fight

  1. What you did was very courageous and I admire you for it. Nancy Greyeyes and I are planning on joining the “Cowboys and Indians Alliance” who will be riding to Washington DC to attempt to stop the keystone XL pipeline from happening. You’ll find more information on my facebook page. Emil BELL again, thanks for all your doing, it’s very courageous and we do this for our Children, to protect “Mother Earth” and the sacred “Water” Hiy Hiy

  2. The Enbridge pipelines allows dirty fossil fuel to be processed and burned. This multiplies the impact on water resources in Alberta, and the possibility of spills and costly cleanup wherever they pass. I support those folks who have the courage to put themselves in the “justice” system, however lame it is.


  4. the entire fossil fuel economy is so corrupt…how they are allowed to completely destroy the globe is totally beyond comprehension.

  5. Has the government gone nuts! To heavily fine and jail people who are trying to save our country from the poisonous polluting oil! I am disgusted with they direction our country is taking. It used to be the most beautiful and clean country in the world..everyone wanted to come here to live..but not now. We are having our air and water constantly polluted from the oil and gas industries. And we can’t even protest with threat of going to jail and being so heavily fined no average person could ever pay a fine like the one covered in this story.. Who is running this country anyway? It used to belong to the American citizens.. and now it is owned by the oil industry. We can’t live like this…filthy air, filthy water, ugly landscapes. Once it has been totally stripped of everything that made it great..the rich who raped it will move on to another country and the rest of us will be left to suffer ill health and early deaths.

  6. This is inexcusable. The oil industry has obviously bought our court system. We certainly have the right to try to protect our environment and we are supposed to have the right of free speech. We are headed in a terrible direction that we will never recover from if the oil industry is allowed to exert such power over the courts. I am ashamed of our government and feel great sorrow over the quickening loss of our beautiful country and its natural resources…all for the love of money..and all going into the pockets of a few rich millionaires and politicians who couldn’t care less about America.

  7. It is beyond criminal when corporations put profit before people, Our environment around us, all because what they care for is PROFIT! We as people must unite against this tyranny and economy be damned, humans will have to start taking their own destiny tin their hands, The Ubuntu Liberation Movement has a blueprint to follow,….here is our Inalienable Rights as human beings, and for those who cannot speak up: Our Inalienable Rights – The Rights of all Citizens

    1. The country belongs to its people
    2.The land belongs to its people
    3.The water belongs to the people
    4.The forests belong to the people
    5.The rivers and lakes belong to the people
    6.The gold, the platinum, diamonds, chrome, copper, iron, uranium, tin, aluminium, and all other minerals in the ground belong to the people
    7. The air and the airwaves belong to the people
    8.Everything that grows on the land belongs to the people
    9.The beaches, the mountains and the skies above belong to the people
    10.The wild animals do not belong to us or anyone else, they belong to the planet and we are their custodians and protectors
    11.The Earth is our MOTHER – we are only here because of her – and therefore we must honour her and protect her against harm.

    The planet, the land and all these things DO NOT belong to the politicians, the government, or any corporation who has unlawfully claimed exclusive rights over it.

    The government has stolen the country from its people. We, the people need to take it back. Dan….Humans for Humanity

  8. Don’t worry everyone the world be poisoned.we will die like animals at the slaughter house.I don’t know what the governments of the world going to do when everybody isDEAD.

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